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Hello, my name is David Westaway and I'm with the Center for Prions and
Protein Folding Diseases at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta.
This topic concerns animal models of tauopathy.
In terms of scope,
we are going to consider the following items.
There are procedural considerations regarding animal models,
including the broader contexts for translational research.
I will describe some properties of tauopathies
including the genetic and idiopathic forms.
I will provide a brief reprise of key facts about
transgenic mice and how they are used intensely in this field.
Some of the ways in which they are constructed affect
how they might be used in a research context.
There are also models beyond transgenic mice to be considered.
These may transcend some of the technical challenges of transgenic mice.
I'll discuss briefly some of those alternative approaches to modeling.
Lastly, I'll make
some concluding remarks with prospects as to where this discipline might be going.
In a broad picture considering animal models and neurodegenerative diseases,
a number of goals can be considered.
Models can be used for testing candidates therapies,
for validating new biomarkers,
potentially for developing imaging reactions,
and for performing toxicity studies on new candidates therapeutics.
In the course of carrying out the types of studies mentioned above,
animal models can, themselves, tell us about missing or unsuspected aspects of biology.
These models can sometimes make us realize that our knowledge of
pathogenesis is incomplete, or in some cases is actually incorrect.
By looking carefully at these models,
we can arrive at a new and better understanding.
At the practical level to arrive at animal models,
what we're doing is employing techniques to deliver genes or
pathogenesis-prone proteins into laboratory animals.